Russian official says Ukrainian drone attack on Black Sea naval headquarters

(Reuters) – A senior official in Russia-aligned Crimea blamed a drone attack ahead of planned celebrations marking Ukraine’s Navy Day on Sunday, wounding five people and forcing the cancellation of the festivities.

The accusation comes hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin oversees Navy Day celebrations in his hometown of St. Petersburg and endorses Russia’s naval doctrine as Moscow presses with its military intervention in Ukraine.

“An unidentified object flew into the yard of the navy’s headquarters,” Mikhail Rasvozhayev, the governor of Sevastopol, home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“According to preliminary information, it is a drone.”

He said that Ukraine has decided to spoil Navy Day for us.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Razvozhayev said that five employees of the naval headquarters were injured in the incident and that the Federal Security Service (FSB) was investigating the circumstances.

“All celebrations have been canceled for security reasons,” Rasvozhayev said. “Please stay calm and stay home if possible.”

Navy Day is an annual Russian holiday when its navies hold naval parades to honor its sailors.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, sparking a major row with the West that deepened Moscow’s role in the pro-Russian separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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